To survive, cells must identify and integrate various signals from the environment. Cells utilize their transmembrane receptors to recognize extracellular signals to execute a myriad of tasks ranging from cell-mediated immunity to tissue formation and regeneration.
A cell using its specific transmembrane receptor, recognizes an external signal, integrates and output corresponding cellular decision.
Therefore, in the field of synthetic biology, it would be especially impactful if cells could be programmed to recognize external environmental signals, generate contact-dependent signaling, and perform reliable logical computations.
Cells, armed with our transmembrane logic gates, can perform various tasks. We have made them even smarter.
Our project ENABLE (ENgineered, Across membrane, Binary Logic in Eukaryotes) offers the first toolbox for mammalian cells to generate contact-dependent signaling from the external environment and Boolean output decisions. We believe this is a foundational advance for synthetic biology, and enables a wide range of opportunities.
We gave the public presentation on #iGEM2018 between 9:00 and 9:25, Oct 25th 2018, Room 311, Hynes Convention Center in Boston, USA. This video was originally recorded by douyu, and later uploaded to youtube.
Contact-dependent signaling is critical for multicellular biological events, yet customizing contact-dependent signal transduction between cells remains challenging. Here we have developed the ENABLE toolbox, a complete set of transmembrane binary logic gates. Each gate consists of 3 layers: Receptor, Amplifier, and Combiner. We first optimized synthetic Notch receptors to enable cells to respond to different signals across the membrane reliably. These signals, individually amplified intracellularly by transcription, are further combined for computing. Our engineered zinc finger-based transcription factors perform binary computation and output designed products. In summary, we have combined spatially different signals in mammalian cells, and revealed new potentials for biological oscillators, tissue engineering, cancer treatments, bio-computing, etc. ENABLE is a toolbox for constructing contact-dependent signaling networks in mammals. The 3-layer design principle underlying ENABLE empowers any future development of transmembrane logic circuits, thus contributes a foundational advance to Synthetic Biology.